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Investment roundup: student housing boom and Southbank Tower relaunch

In this latest development round-up, we zone in on three new student developments and the relaunch to the market of one of London’s most prominent riverside developments.

Alumno’s Bermondsey student residence given green light

Student accommodation specialist Alumno has, following detailed negotiations with the London Borough of Southwark, been granted planning permission for the construction of a new residence on Alscot Road in Bermondsey. 


Alumno’s fourth development in Southwark, the residence will provide fully integrated facilities for 143 students, including ‘high-quality rooms with shared amenities’, such as a basement cinema lounge, study room and community area.

Alscot Road will follow the aims of Alumno’s previous projects in delivering key local community benefits and ensuring placemaking objectives are met. Alumno, by working closely with the local Kintore Way Nursery School and Children’s Centre, has committed to funding an archive project documenting the nursery’s history, which dates back to before the Second World War. Additionally, the currently unusable playground will be refurbished to provide facilities for disabled children. 

“I’m thrilled that Alumno was successful,” said the nursery’s Executive Headteacher in a letter of support for the project. “I’m really looking forward to working in partnership with an organisation that’s so committed to making a positive impact on the local area, and particularly to the children at Kintore Way and across Southwark.” 

Alumno is also collaborating with local science researcher Danny Ball on ‘a pioneering and innovative’ wayfinding technology to meet the rising challenges people face in navigating their way through the modern built environment, especially those who are visually impaired.

“We are delighted to get the go-ahead to build Alscot Road and to be working in Southwark again, and thank the council for approving this fantastic project,” David Campbell, Alumno managing director, said.

“The development will not only provide much needed high-quality accommodation for the area’s student population, but will also contribute to the vibrancy of this diverse neighbourhood and make a valuable contribution to the local community in line with our ethos of always giving something back.”

UNIVA enters UK student accommodation market with £10m investment

UNIVA, a Turkey-based student housing investment provider, has announced a £10 million investment in UK student property and facility management company Opto Living, forming the UNIVA & Opto Cardiff student housing project.

The deal, finalised last month, will see UNIVA make its first investment into the UK purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) market through Opto Living, with the acquisition of 140 luxury student studio suites in the heart of Cardiff city centre.

Opto Property Group will develop and act as the main contractor, while Opto Living will be the operator and facilities manager of the brand-new site under the name of UNIVA & Opto Cardiff.

“We're delighted to have invested with Opto Living to deliver a new standard of accommodation to those studying in Cardiff,” Rıza Erkanlı, chairman at UNIVA, said.

“With this partnership between our like-minded and forward-looking organisations, we will deliver exceptional student living at competitive prices.”

The partnership says that UNIVA & Opto Cardiff has been ‘hyper amenitised’ so that it provides ‘unrivalled facilities’ within the city's student accommodation sector. Amenities are set to include a wide range of sporting and leisure facilities, while the upper level will feature rooftop workstations, sky gardens and a sky bar with BBQ. A private dining room and breakfast bar, plus karaoke, will also be on offer to residents.

Southbank Tower relaunches to the market

2020 will see the relaunch of one of London’s most prominent riverside luxury developments, with Southbank Tower set to be transformed with a new lobby designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and a boutique collection of apartments which will be launched to the market with a series of new initiatives. The residential experience, for example, is set to be enhanced through a cultural programme led by The Old Vic offering experiences not found in any other London residential location.

Southbank Tower includes two and three-bedroom apartments with views of the Thames and London landmarks. It has London’s largest roof garden, a residents’ lounge with dining facilities, a 20-metre swimming pool with gym and spa, a state-of-the-art six-seater cinema, and a 24-hour concierge.

Work on the lobby is set to start in spring 2020 and due to complete by the end of the year.

Apartments are available from £2 million for the premier units (2-3 bedroom) and up to £5,750,000 for the black edition (3-4 bedroom). The unique penthouse apartments are also available but are priced on application.

Student Housing completes £2.6 million acquisition plan

A Nottingham letting agent and property management firm has completed a £2.6million property acquisition plan in the city.

Student Housing, which specialises in ‘high-quality’ student accommodation, received the keys for a five-bedroom, £300,000 house in Lenton at the end of last week. The property is the eleventh to be acquired by Student Housing on behalf of investors.

The acquisition fund was raised in June last year when Student Housing invited potential investors from across the UK to Nottingham to celebrate the opening of its Ilkeston Road offices.

In addition to the Lenton property, Harry Conti – the 26-year-old director of Student Housing – has overseen the acquisition of a block of six studio apartments, several 5-plus bedroom houses or multiple occupancy, two bedroom-apartments and studios.

“We opened our Nottingham office in May last year and have been really pleased with the way the business has developed since,” Conti said. "We started Student Housing in Lincoln in 2015 and, today, we are the biggest specialist agency in the city. Our offer of only working with landlords whose properties offer the highest standards of decor, fixtures and fittings, and being the only Nottingham agency to work on an all bills inclusive basis is proving very popular!"

Further to the properties mentioned above, Conti and his team are close to completing the refurbishment of five apartments on Lenton Boulevard. Once complete, the firm says they will be the most luxurious student accommodation in Nottingham.

Conti and his business partner, 29-year-old Marcus Askam Yates, founded Student Housing in Lincoln in 2015. They had left the University of Lincoln before the end of their degree courses to start the business after becoming frustrated with the low-quality accommodation that was on offer to students.

The business now employs 15 people, who let and manage over 600 properties to more than 1,500 students.


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